Spring Cleaning or Smart Cleaning
by Pat Ennis
As a “professional home economist,” I am not only trained in the theory and skills of home management, but I also possess many years of experience in applying these principles. However, despite all of my education and experience, I am unable to get the vacuum to run itself, the polish and dust rag to make a connection to furniture without my hands, or the mop to glide along the floor without my assistance. I must use my training and skill to create a Smart Home Care Plan that meets the needs of my home, schedule, and season of life.
Smart home care means planning how best to use my energy, time, money, and skill. It demands choosing cleaning techniques that get the tasks done as efficiently and completely as possible. This plan also calls for everyone in the family to help so that no one person has too much to do and everyone has a vested interest in maintaining this cleanliness and order in the home. The motto “many hands make light work” truly applies to the upkeep of a home.
The boundaries of home care depend on the following:
The size of the family
The ages of family members
The indoor hobbies and activities enjoyed by the family
The size and age of the home
The types of furnishings within the home
The presence of pets
The geographical location of the home
The weather and climate of the respective seasons
These steps lead to a Smart Home Care Plan:
1. Analyze your needs and set cleaning goals. Take the time to look over each room and identify clutter as well as cobwebs, dirt, or dust. In hard-to-see areas, do the touch test by running a clean finger over furnishings and surfaces to find dirt that may not be easily seen. Ask yourself, “What jobs need to be done?” and then list them.
2. Set priorities. Rank the home care tasks from most to least important.
3. Number the cleaning tasks with the order in which they need to be done.
4. Develop a Smart Home Care Plan for each room and then itemize the steps for each task. A part of preparing the plan is to answer some important questions:
How often does the specific task need to be done?
When will it be done (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonly)?
Who will do it?
How much time will it take?
What supplies, tools, or other materials are needed to do the task?
Make a Smart Home Care Plan Weekly Schedule. Assign the cleaning tasks to certain days of the week. With a schedule, the family can plan the workload so as to utilize everyone’s abilities, personal schedules, and time. A schedule lets family members know when tasks need to be completed and divides the cleaning tasks according to age, ability level, and time schedules.
Allow for flexibility, such as trading tasks with one another or changing the days on which certain tasks are done in order to meet special needs of family members.
Customize the schedule to meet your family’s needs. Though another family’s schedule might serve as a model, two schedules are not likely to be exactly the same.
Your home schedule really depends on your standards and lifestyle. The most important steps are to develop, use, and then evaluate a schedule. For each task listed, be sure to answer the questions stated in step four. The schedule is only helpful if it meets the needs of your family. Remember: If you are not managing your home, it is managing you.